The other day I was at a friend’s house full of little children. He put on a DVD that completely captivated them and I thought was great. Oy Baby is a small company that has put out this video. It is a Jewish interpretation of the Baby Einstein series (trust me, your grandmother will buy these for your kids when you have them), only instead of brainwashing the little ones with images of trains and puppies, Oy Baby does the trick with Judaica and other Jewish objects and ideas.

The creators of the DVD are a Jewish couple from the Pacific Northwest, Rob and Lisi Wolf, and I hope they’re making some money with this because they’ve done a terrific job. Seriously, go out and buy one for your nieces and nephews, or your own kids if you are so blessed. Oh, did I mention that the wife of this couple is Sephardic? Right there, you have good reason to shop from them.

Did I also mention that the soundtrack is quite good? Turns out that Lisi had been at Bnai Brith as a youth with Stephanie Schneiderman. And it turns out that not only does Stephanie compose and sing quite beautifully, and not only does she have two sisters who sing beautifully, but they’re all Jewish hotties!

Seriously, they take some classic Hebrew songs and sing them (with really heavy American accents) beautifully. The arrangements are great and combined with the visuals, the music truly complements the video. Small bonus here: Stephanie is a recording artist who is very talented and you can find her music here including some downloads that left me wanting to hear more.

Nope, I have no financial connection to these people and had never heard of them until I saw their video while surrounded by little children. Their good work deserves praise and support.

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  • As a new parent who strongly feels the temptation to plop my kid down in front of a screen to get som stuff done, I must take issue with the above description. Come on. The kids were completely captivated. Why is that a good thing? Studies have shown that independent of the programming (Sesame Street, Baby Einstein, or Pokemon), that kids metabolisms slow down as if they are sleeping when they sit staring at a TV. Does this stuff work to entertain kids? Of course. Is it worth it? I say no. Don’t get me wrong. I am not taking issue with the type of programming on the DVD or even on TV. But if you want your kids to learn some hebrew songs or something, put ’em on the radio and dance with them. Give them a book about Jewish stuff. But don’t flip the little switch on the back of their heads to sleep mode just because its convenient.

  • Um, Fineline, it’s a half hour program. You are not going to destroy their minds. I promise.

  • I am not worried at all about a half hour program “frying kids minds,” and I know that everyone who reads my post will think I am some uptight parenting freak. I’ve taken care of kids who will watch the same 2 hour movie 5 times in a row before they’d even think about picking up a ball, going outside, and kicking it around. Bike, skate, shoot hoops, dig a hole, fill it with water, a wallow in some good old-fashioned mud (don’t tell your parents that I recommended that). But if parents cannot be expected to help their kids amuse themselves sans electrons, how exactly are kids supposed to learn?

  • But Fineline, I simply recommended a short video. I didn’t recommend plopping your kid in front of the TV for hours.

    But if you want to discuss this, I do think there is a balance where they can watch a half hour or hour of programming like Sesame Street and it will not harm them and might even benefit them. The TV is not a monster, it’s simply a window into other places. It’s only a monster if you don’t control how it’s used. On that matter, we are in complete agreement. Note that I’m recommending a Jewlicious alternative to a sea of secular programming.

    Also, I respect the fact that while other versions of the songs on Oy Baby may exist out there on CDs (why is a CD not frying a child’s brain but watching TV is?), the crew on Oy Baby (did I mention they are hotties?) has put together some original and beautiful sounds on their songs.

    By the way, this kind of uptight parenting freakishness it perfectly typical of new parents. 😉

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely no TV for children under age 2, and a maximum of 1 hour a day for children ages 2-5, and it should be a DVD or video, never commercial TV.

    Early exposure to too much media (including video games and computers) is increasingly being linked with Attention Deficit Disorder later in childhood.

    I think TM’s suggestion is well within those guidelines, and doesn’t sound particularly damaging.

    Really, TM, you should just hire me as your copy editor/researcher/staunch defender. I’m a good cook too.

  • You know, as a little kid (started around the age of five) I started watching tv shows that were for adults like Lexx, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek, ER, some others. And this gave me a great world of learning of the way the world worked. I mean most people don’t think that children shouldn’t know certain things until theyre older, but I think I turned out just fine…

  • Anne, all my flaws and mistakes might seem cute now, but you’d hate me with a passion within months. 😉

    Besides, I realize, with some sadness, that you live in California and have to be able to afford California real estate with any salary you earn. Ergo, I cannot afford to pay you enough. Real estate by you is nuts.

    Rina, you’re the one in the photo with the tongue sticking out, right?

  • I have to say that my kids saw a few videos when they were younger, but got bored of most of them very quickly. Especially the Jewish ones. The ones that got their attention, and they asked for time and time again, were the ones produced by Fred Levine, a (Jewish) cameraman from Vermont who creates “action-filled, behind-the-scenes videos that show kids how real people get their jobs done.”

    Little Hard Hats is where parents can order (on DVD or video):

    Road Construction Ahead
    Fire & Rescue
    Cleared for Takeoff
    Where the Garbage Goes
    House Construction Ahead

    The visuals are backed with original rock ‘n roll music too! The kids even took them to school and the teachers welcomed them.

    I’m not so sure that kids have to be 2 years old before they watch tv. But the most important thing is that parents choose what to offer their kids to watch.

    One Mom’s opinion.

  • I don’t know, TM, I thought some of those guys who work where the garbage goes were pretty fine.

  • To little boys, trucks and machines are what’s “hot.” “Hotties” in children’s videos are only there, if at all, to pander to parents. Genuine entertainment for children shouldn’t have to be sexualized for them to enjoy it.

    Unless it’s a really big truck.

  • Fred Levine was a cameraman. He proved himself a very astute businessman when he was able to conceive and capitalize on the first Road Construction Ahead videos. He made a small fortune very quickly because they were so popular. He’s never looked back.

    I don’t think Levine, in his videos, uses any hotties.

  • Janice, um, I am kidding!!!!


    Although (Sesame Street’s) The Count is pretty hot!

  • TV, DVD, CD with a good balance of parental attention, good.

    No TV, DVD, CD to give a parent a break to get other needed things done, bad.

    Moderation in all things, good.

  • Thanks, Jewlicious! We’re glad you had as much fun watching the video as we had making it!

    Rob and Lisi Wolf
    Creators of OyBaby

  • Fineline is just wrong. Simply put. Everyone else, go check out Oy Baby 2. Even better than the first.

  • I got Oy Baby and Oy Baby 2 and found that the first one is a lot better. Blech. Oy Chanukah is good though.

  • All the buzz is over. Will they take back my cd/dvd. Kids not a big fan of it. They like the free AOL DVDs to play with better. These cost to much for them to use as frisbees.

  • My kids (3 and 1) _LOVE_ Oy Baby, both the first one and the sequel. To Fineline: we don’t have a TV, so my kids never zone out. Watching Oy Baby on the computer is basically the only visual entertainment they do (otherwise crawling/running around on our kibbutz), and we watch it together, singing the songs. My daughter is obsessed with the “Af, Peh, Ozen” song on the second DVD, which is basically a Hebrew version of head, shoulders, knees and toes (but better). As a native Seattle Jew (but who doesn’t know the people who made the DVDs), I am really proud that this was a northwest project and am getting them as presents for my friends. Added bonus: some of the sequences are designed to teach Hebrew (e.g., Hebrew numbers), but for my kid (who knows Hebrew), they did a great job reinforcing the English too!

  • Thanks Ariela and everyone else for their positive comments.

    Hey “No Thanks”…sorry to hear it was not a hit in your household. If you’d like to contact me through our website, I will be happy to provide a full refund. All we ask is that you donate the DVD and CD to a school or charity.

    That’s just how we do it here at OyBaby World Headquarters.

    Rob and Lisi Wolf
    OyBaby LLC

  • What a great policy! Rob, my daughter wants to be in Oy Baby 3. She is very cute (bli ayin harah), so let us know when filming starts.

  • Oy baby is the only way I can get my 21 month old asthmatic son to sit for his morning nebulizer treatment. He used to run away from me when we were going to do it, or cry hysterically the whole time, but now he runs to sit down and hold the mask on saying “Baby! Baby!” He also recognizes the Hebrew letters and knows their names now after watching it every morning.

    The TV is a necessity for this particular reason in our house, and I’m thankful for Oy Baby…

    We are ordering Oy Baby 2 because I need a little variety…

    My older two (especially my 4 year old) also enjoy Oy Baby when it’s on.

  • We use OyBaby2 for nebulizer treatments as well! If the video doesn’t fry his brain, the Albuterol will. :0